JUBILANT Burnham Sports will be playing in the T.Rippon Mid-Essex League premier division next season after sealing promotion with a remarkable one-wicket win away to Ingatestone.
Teenager Jack Silvester was the hero, thumping two sixes and six fours in an unbeaten 60 as Sports, chasing a target of 254 from 50 overs, squeezed home with two balls to spare after being on the ropes virtually all afternoon.
The 18-year-old, the youngest player in Burnham’s side, came of age and clinched victory in tandem with Andy Stephens, who, at 46, is the oldest.
All looked lost when the last-wicket combination came together requiring 61 from 55 balls but the pair rose to the challenge.
They had whittled the target down to 32 with five overs left, then 19 with three remaining.
They still still required seven from the final over, bowled by Jeater, who, earlier in the day had smashed a rapid century to put Ingatestone in the driving seat.
Silvester managed a single from the first ball before Stephens hit three successive twos through the offside to clinch a success that, for much of the day, had looked most unlikely.
Burnham’s joy was doubled later in the evening when it was confirmed that Rayleigh, the only club capable of overhauling them in their promotion battle, had lost to Bentley.
It means that Sports will be playing in the top division for the first time since 2004 – and for only the second time in their history.
“I know everyone watching in the clubhouse was nervous but, out in the middle, it was great fun,” said Silvester, who came in at number eight and attacked at every opportunity. “Andy and I are similarly optimistic and adopted a simple plan of hitting the bad balls and defending the good ones.
“It worked out well.”
Stephens added: “Jack showed maturity beyond his years.
“He’s one of a number of good young players at the club who deserve a crack at the Premier League.
“It won’t be easy and we will start off as relegation favourites but Saturday showed that we don’t lack the necessary spirit.”